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Eurovision 2019: Rylan Clark-Neal picks his Top 5 countries



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Rylan’s picks include John Lundvik of Sweden and Kate Miller-Heidke from Australia

As the Eurovision Song Contest grand final nears, semi-final co-commentator Rylan Clark-Neal predicts who’ll end up on top.

Rylan Clark-Neal would love to see the UK win Eurovision this year. But he’s enough of a realist to know that’s a big ask of Michael Rice.

His power ballad Bigger Than Us lies in the middle of the running order, sandwiched between two more favoured tunes from Norway and Iceland.

Instead Rylan is predicting success for one of the Scandinavian countries set to compete in the song contest final later.

“If I could pick a winner and it wasn’t the United Kingdom, I would love to see Norway or Sweden win,” he tells BBC News shortly after commentating on the second semi-final with Scott Mills.

“It’s a really strong year for the Nordic side, all the Scandi lot.”

The rest of the top five, the former X Factor contestant predicts, will be completed by Switzerland, Australia and the Netherlands – “though not in that order”.

“Obviously I’d love to see Michael there,” he continues. “But because I’m from the UK I’m going to take the UK out of the situation.”

Clark-Neal will serve as the United Kingdom’s spokesperson when the results of this year’s voting are revealed at the end of the final.

Grand final running order

  1. Malta
  2. Albania
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Germany
  5. Russia
  6. Denmark
  7. San Marino
  8. North Macedonia
  9. Sweden
  10. Slovenia
  11. Cyprus
  12. Netherlands
  13. Greece
  14. Israel
  15. Norway
  16. United Kingdom
  17. Iceland
  18. Estonia
  19. Belarus
  20. Azerbaijan
  21. France
  22. Italy
  23. Serbia
  24. Switzerland
  25. Australia
  26. Spain

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Dutch contestant Duncan Laurence is the bookie’s favourite to win the contest, which reaches its conclusion in Israel on Saturday.

Australia is second favourite, thanks in part to a dramatic staging that sees singer Kate Miller-Heidke suspended high in the air on a bendy pole.

Germany have been tipped to come last for the third time this decade with Sister, performed by a duo called S!sters who are not actually related.

Madonna will perform two songs during the globally televised show, which will also feature a performance from four former contestants.

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Media captionAt home with Eurovision 2018 winner Netta

Last year’s winner, Netta Barzalai, will kick off the event by “flying” this year’s entrants into the arena.

The Israeli singer will return later to perform her new single, Nana Banana, once all the competing songs have been performed.

Maltese teenager Michela will begin the contest with catchy dance number Chameleon, to be followed by Albania’s Jonida Maliqi.

No Eurovision finalist given the second spot in the running order has even gone on to win the competition.

Britain’s Michael Rice will be the 16th act to perform during the show, which is being staged at the International Convention Center in Tel Aviv.

He will be preceded by Norwegian trio KEiiNO and followed by Iceland’s Hatari, a leather-clad punk ensemble whose provocative attire, and anti-capitalist sentiments, have dominated much of this year’s coverage.

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Media captionHatari’s song is called Hate Will Prevail

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, Israel’s most internationally famous actress, will appear in a pre-recorded video.

There will also be appearances from Israel’s 1979 Eurovision winner Gali Atari and the multi-ethnic music collective The Idan Raichel Project.

Israel earned the right to host the competition for the third time after Netta won in Lisbon 12 months ago.

Yet its role as host is not popular with critics of the country’s policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

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Other Eurovision stories

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Earlier this year, Netta spoke out against calls for the contest to be boycotted on human rights grounds.

“Boycotting prevents light being spread, and when you boycott light, you spread darkness,” she told BBC Breakfast.

“I believe in a dialogue, I believe in protest… but boycotting isn’t the answer.”

The Eurovision Song Contest final will air on BBC One from 20:00 BST on Saturday.

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Radio 1 DJ: ‘I’m fighting now so other women won’t have to’




Tiffany Calver in the studioImage copyright
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Radio 1’s Tiffany Calver says she is constantly dealing with a feeling of “anxiety that comes from just trying to do my job”.

The 25-year-old became the first female DJ to host The Rap Show on Radio 1 and 1Xtra in January 2019.

Tiffany’s spoken out on social media over comments that she says suggest women in the music industry still aren’t seen as equals and get jobs by “being groupies” or sleeping with someone in power.

She adds: “I really hope we all grow up and evolve.”

“I’m learning to be ok with the ignorance and that’s not ok. We shouldn’t be accepting it,” she wrote.

Tiffany Calver became the first woman to host the prestigious Saturday night slot when she took over from Charlie Sloth 10 months ago.

She didn’t give details of the type of criticism she had faced but claimed it had been happening for some time, which is why she decided to address the issue publicly.

“I’m getting thicker skin, promise,” she wrote. “But I saw one comment too many today and I am starting to realise that by playing things down, saying nothing, and quietly trying to prove myself more because of insecurities that my male peers will never have to think about, is helping nobody.”

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Tiffany follows in the footsteps of Tim Westwood and Charlie Sloth in hosting The Rap Show

As well as presenting The Rap Show, Tiffany Calver has also been the official tour DJ for artists including Drake and Fredo.

She added that the situation has improved.

“Things are much better than they once were. But there are still many ways in which women feel that they are not given a fair crack of the whip.”

Gender equality researcher, Dr Jill Armstrong, agrees.

“It’s tougher for women both in terms of the criticism and the barriers they face to getting into whatever career they choose to do.”

She says women often feel they have to work harder than their male counterparts in order to be accepted. But she adds that the same pre-conceptions apply when the roles are reversed, referring to male nurses and primary school teachers as examples of that.

“It’s not a men versus women thing. It’s what we all do.

“When men are in a role that people normally associate with women, you get those same kinds of judgments.

“Unconscious bias is something that both women and men practice. It’s just about the attitudes we have and the way that we’ve been brought up.”

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Cambridge’s ‘Pink Floyd’ pub Flying Pig saved from demolition




Pink Floyd original line-up and David GilmourImage copyright

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David Gilmour (right) joined Pink Floyd in 1968, when founding member Syd Barrett (in glasses) briefly remained the lead singer of the band

A city pub famous for its links with rock band Pink Floyd has been saved from demolition – after developers bowed to public pressure.

The Flying Pig in Cambridge had been under threat for more than a decade and is a popular live music venue.

Developers Pace Investments adjusted their plans for the surrounding area after almost 14,000 people signed a petition to keep the pub intact.

Landlord Matt Hatfield told the BBC: “We work hard and we love this place.”

There has been a pub on the Hills Road site since the 1840s, and original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett is said to have met then future Floyd guitarist David Gilmour there, in the 1950s.

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There has been a pub on the site of the Flying Pig since the 1840s.

The pub – next to the Botanic Gardens and close to Cambridge station – was in line to be torn down under plans for a “mixed-use scheme”, including offices.

A public consultation in June led to a petition that raised 13,638 signatures.

Managing director of Pace Investments, Jonathan Vincent, admitted that public pressure had “played its part”.

“We’ve changed our plans, listened to what people said and we’ve now designed around it,” he said.

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Justine Hatfield has been running the Flying Pig pub with her husband Matt for 21 years

He said the rear of the building will be modernised and rebuilt, with the “bar and interior maintained and preserved.”

However, journalist and musician Nick Barraclough, who wrote a book about the Flying Pig, said developers “made a clever move” – because the changes still mean removing the landlord accommodation upstairs.

“The fact that the people who run it live upstairs is a terribly important part of it,” he said.

“No pub is just a bar. They are still going to take the heart out of the place.”

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Campaigners are fighting to prevent the Flying Pig from being swallowed up by surrounding office development

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Mr Hatfield, who has managed the pub with his wife Justine for 21 years, said the few remaining independent pubs are “part of the fabric of Cambridge”.

“The city is changing so much,” he said. “But we are part of the community here. We work hard.”

A consultation on the amended plans begins on 5 December.

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Grammys 2020: Nominee Yola’s mum thought music ‘too risky’




YolaImage copyright
David McClister

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As a teenager Yola had to sneak out to perform in gigs because her mother disapproved

A British musician who is tipped for four Grammys has spoken of how her mother tried to ban her from music because it was “too risky”.

Yola used to sneak out of the house she grew up in, in Portishead near Bristol, to play gigs while she was a teenager and ended up homeless in London.

Now she could win the likes of Best New Artist at the 62nd Grammys, in the US.

Yola’s mum thought music was “unacceptable” and wanted her to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer, she said.

“We grew up on the breadline, so it’s not as if music was seen as a realistic option,” she said. “The probability is always with you that it won’t go well.”

‘Literally risked everything’

“I discovered that the hard way earlier in my musical development when I wound up on the streets,” she explained.

“So it wasn’t that [my mum] was exactly wrong – it’s just that her approach was very absolute and I had to circumnavigate it with a whole lot of sneaking.”

Yola became homeless in London after using up all her finances to further her music career and struggling with stress-induced voice loss.

“It’s very validating to get something like this when you’ve literally risked everything you own,” she said.

She launched a successful career in writing and performing on pop hits, and briefly joined British band Massive Attack, before launching her solo career and becoming a breakout star in the US.

‘Already a win’

Yola, who has been solo for less than a year, has also been nominated for Best Americana Album for her debut album “Walk Through Fire” and for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for album track “Faraway Look”.

“I had no expectation of any of this,” she continued.

“I’ve been doing loads of other things on a small label and been sessioning for years. But as for being an artist in my own right, it’s only ten months.

“So for me this is already a win as far as I’m concerned.”

The Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on, 26 January 2020.

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